NEW MALAWI PRESIDENT CUTS HER OWN SALARY
Photo courtesy of United Nations
Showing the people of Malawi her dedication in standing with them in efforts to turn up Malawi's economy, President Joyce Banda has announced that she is cutting her own salary by 30 percent, as her government rolls out austerity measures with reports forecasting cuts for economic growth of 4.3 percent this year "due to contraction in some major sectors", according to Malawi's Finance Minister, Ken Lipenga.
In-fact, President Banda and Vice-President Khumbo Kachali are both said to be cutting their salaries by 30 percent. President Banda has said that she will not enforce this upon the rest of her cabinet, saying that the decision to do so or not is up to them to make.
Malawi has been facing economic hardship since traditional donors began to withhold what is estimated to about 40 percent of Malawi's national budget, due to former President Bingu wa Mutharika's row against what he believed to be "some Western donor nations working with local non-governmental groups (NGOs) to hold street demonstrations and vigils against his rule."
The BBC reported that the UK and other donors had cut aid to Malawi in 2010, criticizing its economic policies.
Mutharika died due to a heart attack in April this year.
Upon becoming Malawi's new President, Banda has worked to restore international aid, while reforming several policies instigated by the former government which reportedly, "led to a foreign exchange shortage that drove up the costs in the kwacha currency for essentials such as petrol, food and pharmaceuticals."
President Banda has also confirmed that her government intends to sell former President's Mutharika's Presidential Jet, which had angered traditional donors. As Africa's second female president, Banda said that she will never fly in the plane, which reports say she has called-wasteful.
The landlocked country in southeast Africa still stands as one of the world's poorest (least developed countries) and is heavily dependent on outside aid to meet its development needs.